|Loblaw will pilot a drive-thru groceries project at a Richmond Hill location.|
The Loblaws at 301 High Tech Rd. in Richmond Hill has been set up with a bright orange click-and-collect area that includes assigned parking. Customers will be able to have the groceries they chose and pay for online, loaded into their vehicles.
Loblaws announced earlier this year that it would pilot a click-and-collect program, but provided few details. A company spokesman declined to elaborate on Tuesday, although he did confirm that Richmond Hill will be the first location to offer the new service.
“The service is not yet available to the public, but we’re excited by the prospect of offering busy customers another option to complete their shopping, saving considerable time in the process,” said Loblaw spokesperson Kevin Groh.
While click- and collect is not well-known in Canada, the service is widely used in Europe and at some stores in the U.S., to service time-starved customers who don’t have time to shop themselves.
In France, one in five shoppers report having used click-and-collect services from grocery chains, according to Canadian Grocer editor Rob Gerlsbeck.
“Click-and-collect is seen as a more profitable model for online groceries than delivery to peoples’ homes. The most expensive part of getting online orders to peoples’ homes is that last mile. Delivering it to the house is expensive,” said Gerlsbeck.
In Western Canada, Overwaitea Food Group launched click-and-collect at Save-on-Food stores in B.C. in September.
The pick-up option is available at three locations. Customers can opt for home delivery.
Loblaws is advertising to fill contract positions that include personal shoppers and someone to manage a team of personal shoppers, “ensuring the eCommerce grocery orders are fulfilled as planned and on time.”
The job posting, which appears on the company website, promises state-of-the-art technology and systems for best-in-class service.
Personal shoppers will be expected to shop in-store for customers with the “care and attention as though you were shopping for your own groceries, ensuring product is chosen quickly and accurately.”
“You will further enhance the customer experience by providing carry-out service for our Click & Collect customers.”
Loblaw purchased Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. last year in a deal worth $12.4-billion. Earlier this year, it began selling a full line of groceries at select GTA Shoppers stores, to test whether customers will buy freshly prepared foods or meat and tomatoes at the same place they pick up their prescription drugs.
Shoppers stores offer greater convenience because there are so many locations – especially in densely populated urban areas – that are open long hours and have big, well-lit parking lots.
The family-owned Longo’s chain continues to operate Grocery Gateway, which allows clients to shop online and have the groceries delivered to their home. It recently launched Sunday service.